Guido van Rossum on the move to Digital CreationsAs covered in the November 2, 2000 LWN Weekly Edition, the members of PythonLabs are making Digital Creations their new home. Guido van Rossum was kind enough to answer a set of questions from LWN on this move and where Python is going in general.
Why did you choose DC as the new home of Python?
For a whole bunch of reasons.
What went wrong at BeOpen?
The original plan was that BeOpen would create a portal website for the open source community that would generate enough advertising revenue to fund the PythonLabs team. That didn't work, and lots of other things were tried. In the end the plan was that the PythonLabs team would do Python consulting to bring in revenue to fund the entire company. But even that didn't work, and they couldn't pay our salaries. At that point we figured we'd waited long enough for things to get better, and decided to cut our losses.
How do you expect the development of Python to be changed by the move to DC?
Not much. The plans for a branded version released by the PythonLabs team will be abandoned, and we plan to reemphasize the importance of the python.org website. We'll probably see some improvements to Python that are especially useful for Zope-like systems: high-end server performance enhancements, security enhancements. Lots of other Python users will benefit from these improvements too!
Will there be yet another Python license?
Possibly, but it will be an attempt to unify all the existing licenses into a single one. Digital Creations doesn't require a new license.
Will Zope become part of the Python distribution?
Absolutely not! They serve totally different purposes, and are developed by different teams, on a different release schedule. There's no point in tying those together.
Do you expect the PythonLabs people to work on Zope as well?
Yes -- Zope is a very interesting piece of software, and we'd like to help. I certainly have some ideas that I'd like to try out. But I don't think this will be a large portion of our time -- instead, we'll be improving Python in ways that will make it possible for Jim Fulton's team to make Zope better.
It's been said more than once that Python really needs a CPAN-like module repository. What's the current thinking in that regard?
That it's true. We don't yet have immediate plans in that direction, but in the long term I think we'll be improving the www.python.org website (making it a Zope site run by the community) and this would be a logical thing to add. Note that the distutils package added to Python 2.0 makes installation of 3rd party code much easier.
The acquisition of Ajuba Solutions has shaken up the Tcl world somewhat. Do you see any reason to fear a similar occurrence with Python?
I'm not worried for Tcl. They did the right thing: open up the development process (now modeled after Python's). Our employment agreement with DC guarantees that *if* something like that happens to DC (acquisition by a company with no interest in Python), the ownership of Python is not jeopardized, and the PythonLabs team can find work elsewhere.
Anything else you would like to see in a story about this move?
1) We're looking into forming a Python Software Foundation modeled on the Apache Software Foundation, to own the copyright on all new Python code (and hopefully also most of the old Python code) and to do Python evangelization.
2) Computer Programming for Everybody (www.python.org/cp4e) will get a new
boost from perhaps an unexpected corner: ActiveState's Komodo (www.activestate.com/Products/Komodo)
may be on its way to become the GUI that IDLE wanted to be. We'll be
working with the ActiveState folks to promote Python as the best
programming language for as-yet-non-programmers.
Eklektix, Inc. all rights
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds